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Topic: User Testing

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  • Usability for $200

    June 2, 2003

    How can a small company's website benefit from usability activities despite a minuscule budget? By integrating four simple and effective usability practices into the design process.

    Convincing Clients to Pay for Usability

    May 19, 2003

    Professionally run design agencies user test their designs to increase the value they deliver to their clients. The challenge is getting clients to understand the benefits of a solid development methodology.

    Paper Prototyping: Getting User Data Before You Code

    April 14, 2003

    With a paper prototype, you can user test early design ideas at an extremely low cost. Doing so lets you fix usability problems before you waste money implementing something that doesn't work.

    Becoming a Usability Professional

    July 22, 2002

    A successful usability career requires some theoretical knowledge, but mainly rests on brainpower and many years' experience testing and studying users. The only way to gain that experience is to start now.

    Success Rate: The Simplest Usability Metric

    February 18, 2001

    In addition to being expensive, collecting usability metrics interferes with the goal of gathering qualitative insights to drive design decisions. As a compromise, you can measure users' ability to complete tasks. Success rates are easy to understand and represent usability's bottom line.

    Usability Metrics

    January 21, 2001

    Although measuring usability can cost four times as much as conducting qualitative studies (which often generate better insight), metrics are sometimes worth the expense. Among other things, metrics can help managers track design progress and support decisions about when to release a product.

    Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users

    March 19, 2000

    Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.

    Cost of User Testing a Website

    May 3, 1998

    Across 50 teams, the average time needed for their first usability test of a website was 39 hours. The average site had 11 usability catastrophes that prevented users from completing their tasks.

    Discount Usability for the Web

    January 1, 1997

    Discount usability engineering is our only hope. We must evangelize methods simple enough that departments can do their own usability work, fast enough that people will take the time, and cheap enough that it's still worth doing. The methods that can accomplish this are simplified user testing with one or two users per design and heuristic evaluation.

    International Web Usability

    August 1, 1996

    The unprecedented international exposure afforded by the Web increases the designer's responsibility for ensuring international usability. Because of the myriad of issues in international usability, I recommend doing international usability testing with users from a few countries in different parts of the world. No guidelines yet published are sufficiently complete to guarantee perfect international usability, so an empirical reality check is always preferred.

    International Usability Testing

    January 1, 1996

    When working on a product intended for use abroad your best bet is to conduct international usability testing. You may need to engage a translator or even a local usability consultant, depending on the complexity of the test.

    Usability Laboratories: A 1994 Survey

    January 1, 1995

    A summary of statistics for the thirteen usability laboratories in 1994, an introduction to the main uses of usability laboratories in usability engineering, and survey of some of the issues related to practical use of user testing and CAUSE tools for computer-aided usability engineering. Nielsen, J. (1994). Usability laboratories. Behaviour & Information Technology 13, 1&2, 3-8.

    Report From a 1994 Web Usability Study

    January 1, 1994

    Summary of usability results conducted in 1994 on the web sites of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Time Warner; the report includes screen captures of several famous early websites and because it is one of the first formal usability studies of the Web.

    Iterative User Interface Design

    November 1, 1993

    In 4 case studies, the median usability improvement was 165% from the first to the last iteration, and the median improvement per iteration was 38%. Iterating through at least 3 versions of a UI design is recommended, since some usability metrics may decrease in some versions if a redesign has focused on improving other parameters. Nielsen, J. (1993). Iterative user interface design. IEEE Computer 26, 11 (November), 32-41.

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